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pro·​jec·​tile prə-ˈjek-tᵊl How to pronounce projectile (audio)
chiefly British
ˈprä-jik-ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce projectile (audio)
: a body projected by external force and continuing in motion by its own inertia
especially : a missile for a weapon (such as a firearm)
: a self-propelling weapon (such as a rocket)


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: projecting or impelling forward
a projectile force
: capable of being thrust forward

Example Sentences

Noun The cannon fires a ten-pound projectile. Someone threw a projectile at her car.
Recent Examples on the Web
Setting my shutter speed at 1/500th of a second revealed just the right amount of motion blur to spot the projectile coming out of the barrel against the trees in the background. Matt Crisara, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2022 And the next most common projectile was silt, which appeared to be their ammunition of choice when interacting with their neighbors. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Nov. 2022 Throws that made octo-contact were also more likely to be accomplished with a specific set of arms, and the projectile was more likely to be silt. Emma Marris, Scientific American, 10 Nov. 2022 The country’s space program has mastered the ability to rendezvous one satellite with another in orbit, allowing for close-up kills, either by destroying an enemy satellite with a projectile or blinding its optics with lasers. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, 26 Aug. 2022 No other details, including the projectile’s flight range, were immediately available. Heather Chen, CNN, 27 Oct. 2022 There are scenes with worms and maggots and projectile diarrhea. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 27 Oct. 2022 But a joint ground-to-ground missile exercise Wednesday sent mixed signals when one South Korean projectile failed soon after launch, hitting a building on its own airbase. Matt Seyler, ABC News, 6 Oct. 2022 Rocket barrages triggered air raid sirens around southern and central Israel late Sunday, including near Ben Gurion Airport, where officials briefly paused landings after air-defense missiles blew up at least one projectile near approach routes. Shira Rubin,, 7 Aug. 2022
Extremely curious how this arc melee enhancer will work if as expect, Hunters get a projectile arc melee for 3.0. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 11 July 2022 Along with the drone, police used an armored personnel carrier to approach the suspect, and then brandished both a military-style assault rifle and a projectile launcher that fires nonlethal rounds of hardened sponge. Joe Tash, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 May 2022 Great Glintstone Shard has had its projectile speed and range increased. Paul Tassi, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 Unverified footage that circulated on social media appeared to show moving lights from anti-projectile defenses being fired into the pre-dawn sky over the UAE capital that day. Reuters, CNN, 27 Jan. 2022 In physics, this would be a projectile motion problem. Rhett Allain, Wired, 26 Nov. 2021 Blank cartridges don’t contain a projectile bullet; instead cartridges are loaded only with gunpowder to create a bang and a fiery flash at the end of the gun’s barrel, all meant to heighten the effect for viewers. John Jurgensen, WSJ, 22 Oct. 2021 The legislation requires law enforcement officers to be trained on the safe use of kinetic projectiles and chemical agents and other de-escalation techniques before using projectile weapons. Patrick Mcgreevy, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021 The officer appears to be using a projectile shotgun that fires beanbag rounds. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'projectile.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use


1564, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1715, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of projectile was in 1564

Dictionary Entries Near projectile

Cite this Entry

“Projectile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: something (as a bullet or rocket) thrown or driven forward especially from or for use as a weapon
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